For the first time in 10 years, Liverpool emerged champions of the League Club after they overcame Chelsea in a marathon penalty shoot-out on Sunday at Wembley after a barren but goalmouth-filled 120 minutes.
The Carabao Cup as it is fondly called is the first major silverware of the English club season and the Reds held on their nerves to beat the Blues with their entire team scoring their penalties in the 11-10 victory.
After failing to find the back of the net in 120 minutes, Sunday’s final had to be decided through penalty kicks. James Milner took the first for Liverpool and he scored while Marcus Alonso also scored for Chelsea albeit narrowly.
Fabinho took the second for the Reds and he also scored while Romelu Lukaku also scored for the Blues. Virgil van Dijk was up for Liverpool’s third and he scored while Kai Havertz also scored making it 3-3.
Trent Alexander Arnold scored Liverpool’s fourth penalty and Reece James did the same for Chelsea. For the fifth kick, Mohamed Salah took the responsibility for Liverpool and he scored while Jorginho also did the same as it became 5-5.
For the sudden death, Diego Jota scored Liverpool’s first while Rudiger did the same as the scores became 6-6. Divock Origi scored Liverpool’s seventh and N’Golo Kante also scored.
Andy Robertson scored the eighth kick for the Reds and Timo Werner also squeezed his in for Chelsea. Elliot scored Liverpool’s ninth kick and Thiago Silva made it 9-9 for Chelsea.
Ibrahima Konate fired in Liverpool’s 10th penalty while Trevor Chalobah also buried his making it 10-10. Then it was the turn for the goalkeepers, while Liverpool’s keeper scored, Caoimhin Kelleher, scored his, Kepa who had been brought on to replace Mendy could not do the same thus handing the Reds the title and denying Chelsea what could have been their sixth league cup win.
Going into Sunday’s final, the Blues already lifted one trophy this month, claiming their first Club World Cup title with victory over Palmeiras in Abu Dhabi and the Blues were gunning for their sixth League Cup triumph
As for Liverpool, they have been in magnificent form in the Premier League, reigniting their pursuit of Manchester City in the title race, but are seeking what would – remarkably – be a first domestic cup success under Jurgen Klopp.
The build-up to Sunday’s final was overshadowed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and it was heartwarming to see both teams unite to ask for peace before the kickoff
Though Chelsea had less of the ball possession, they created the best scoring opportunities and would knock themselves in the head not going ahead after the first 45 minutes
Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount were the biggest culprits blowing away two great opportunities for the Blues. The game started on an evenly-balanced note as both sides started predictably on a cautious note.
But six minutes into the game, Chelsea could have taken the lead when Kai Havertz played the ball wide to Azpilicueta who in turn played a perfect ball back across the face of goal to Pulisic who was onside in the middle, but he failed to bury the ball as he was denied by the Liverpool keeper, Kelleher.
Though Chelsea tried to keep up the momentum, Liverpool responded with a chance of their own in the 12th minute when Mane drifted past Chalobah into the box and pulled the ball back to Diaz but his shot is blocked. Fortunately for Chelsea, the rebound fell to Kovacic who did the needful clearing the ball away from danger.
Mane proved to be a handful for the Chelsea defence as the Senegalese kept pushing for a goal which was continually denied by his kinsman Edouard Mendy who made a fantastic double save to keep the score at 0-0 after the first half though Mount had the last chance in the half, which he missed.
While both teams came close on a number of occasions in the first half, they were even more closely after the break with efforts on both sides chalked off.
Joel Maptip thought he had given Liverpool the lead in the 67th minute after firing in Alexander-Arnold cross from close range but a second check through VAR, the goal was disallowed.
Five minutes after escaping the scare of falling behind, Thomas Tuchel made a double substitution in his team; as he brought Romleu Lukaku and Timo Werner on for Mount and Pulisic.
Five minutes after coming on, Werner appeared to have turned things around for Chelsea as he lifted a great ball to the back post which Havertz headed into the net despite Kelleher’s best efforts but it was quickly ruled off for offside.
The decision saw the wide celebrations short-lived but it was Chelsea that finished the second half stronger with Lukaku coming close at the death but was denied by smart goalkeeping by Kelleher for Liverpool.
The game went into extra time and after thirty minutes of nervy football action, there was still nothing to separate the two teams, hence the lottery of penalty kicks in which Liverpool prevailed at the end.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To place an advert here . Call Willie - +2348098788999